Handbags at Dawn

Now I’m not talking about the fake Gucci shower handbags that the standard Big Time Charlie swans in with on a Saturday, I’m talking about the on pitch squaring up. Every week you will sit down to watch a game of live football and 9 times out of 10 there will be a spot of Handbags. Two or more players may exchange aggressive words, go head to head and do a couple of pushes but everybody knows this is all panto and going nowhere. This happens from the top of the game all the way to Saturday amateurs. As a man who prefers to sort out a dispute with a civilised discussion, I have rarely been centre stage with my Michael Kors out. There has, however, been the odd occasion where I have been directly involved. I will outline these below.



My weapon of choice




My first ever experience was while playing for Stirling University against Heriot Watt University. Surprisingly, I was a half decent player at this level. I took copious amounts of joy at skinning the right full back at every occasion. Time after time, the right back would send me up in the air with no intention of playing the ball. Late on in the game I have once more sped past him – this time he has kicked me harder than before and I have reacted like any red blooded male. I screamed in a high pitched tone,


I delivered my hardest push to his pectorals. Needless to say he pushed me back and a full on 20 man handbags brawl broke out. As this was happening, I realised that the only players not involved were myself and my hacker. As usual, nobody hurt. With a bunch of students that is pretty understandable.



The second occasion involved me and a now current teammate. Whilst playing for Forfar, I believed Ricky Little was trying to get a team mate of mine sent off. Again I have pushed him as hard as I could. Ricky did not move and his chest felt like it was made out of stone. Ricky looks up, shoves me and I flew back 20 metres like an empty tracksuit in the wind. Needless to say, I didn’t come back for a second bite. Although, in the heat of the moment, I did nearly utter the dreaded uncomfortable phrase of,

“aye, see you in the tunnel after the game”

I’m glad I didn’t as I would not have been able to sleep at night through tears of embarrassment.



squaring up
You’ll do nuttin Wilshire




The third and final occasion was the scariest encounter. After a long day getting the piss taken out me by 10 year olds (I’m a teacher by the way) I turned up for training tired and in an extremely damp mood. There’s and old saying in football:

“Train as you play son”

All fine and well, however this particular player’s approach to playing was the unique ‘aggressive wrestle’ technique. In small sided games he boshed me into the advertising hoardings and this is how the interaction went.

Me: maaaate, why? (like a teenager responding to his mum who has just grounded him)

Aggressive player: Get up, it’s a mans game

Me: oooooo you’re a real tough guy aren’t you!

This set him off… we traded a couple of playground insults. The scene was escalating and I had dug my feet firmly into the sand, after all, these scenes of handbags never go anywhere. Aggressive player was now approaching me with fire in his eyes… this is when I decided to fire my best insult at him.

“yer a fanny”

This enraged him further and he was now within a few metres of me. Why was nobody jumping into stop it? Fear has struck, with my heart beating fast and my orifice twitching like a 50 pence piece. I was one second from turning around and legging it but fortunately for me the assistant manager stepped in and stopped this man from rearranging my beautiful face. Since then, I have vowed never to get involved.


All of these “altercations” have left me with a sense of embarrassment – I believe this is the same for everyone. If, after one of these occasions, you don’t find yourself standing in front of the mirror slightly ashamed of yourself then you sir… are a bellend.


I’m glad I have got this off my chest – maybe it’s just me. Please tweet me your favourite handbag memories and it will let me sleep easier.

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